Expect roadblocks galore
The City of Johannesburg wants its money and will take to the streets to get it.
Senior officials in charge of the metro - including city manager Trevor Fowler - revealed yesterday that Johannesburg traffic officials would carry out more roadblocks to allow officers to "personally" hand out traffic fines to offenders.
The "change in strategy", Fowler said, was the result of an unknown number of fines having to be declared invalid as it was not known if the fines sent to offenders had been received by them because of the four-month strike by SA Post Office employees in 2014.
Fowler was speaking yesterday during the presentation of the city's annual report and financial statements for the year ending June 2015 to the Municipal Public Accounts Committee in Braamfontein, Johannesburg.
While the number of "lost" fines and their value are not known, the Johannesburg Metro Police Department issues about 400000 traffic fines a month at an average value of R200, meaning that as many as 1.6million fines worth R320-million might be null and void.
Fowler said roadblocks would be set up and traffic fines served directly to motorists, eliminating having to send infringement notices by registered mail - saving millions in postage costs.
Last year metro police spent R16.5-million a month on fines, R9.5-million of which went towards sending fines by registered mail; the remaining R7-million being paid to the contractor of the speed cameras.
Fowler conceded that the Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences Act - currently being piloted in Johannesburg and Tshwane - was not working.
"We are moving to roadblocks because once the [infringement] notices are handed out personally, there will be no need to send them out by registered mail."
Director of group financial accounting in the City of Johannesburg Ishwar Ramdas said: "It is not that we did not hand the fines over to the Post Office. We did hand them over but, because of the strike, they were not sent out."
Fowler's comments on the act echo equally pessimistic sentiments expressed in 2013 by the national Department of Transport. In a status report on the piloted law, the department said it believed the act was on the brink of collapse.
"If the current obstacles experienced with Tshwane, Johannesburg, the Road Traffic Infringement Agency and the Road Traffic Management Corporation are an indication of how the roll-out will take place, the national roll-out is doomed to fail before it has started," it said at the time.